The demand for dog fields is booming so it is no surprise that people with land are considering setting up dog fields to cater to this market. We had visited so many dog fields by the time we first started planning our own dog field that we knew exactly what we wanted and needed to provide – but this isn’t the case for all people looking to establish secure dog fields.
As a standard, anyone setting up a dog field should use small grid, high tensile wire fencing that stands at least 6ft (1.8m) from the ground.
In this article we’ll explain exactly why using this type of fencing is the best way to maximise your income and protect yourself and your clients from any problems related to fencing.
Dog Field Fence Height
This is the most frequently asked question by customers looking to book dog fields and anyone who asks you is looking for a 6ft plus fence. Whilst those of you with dogs that aren’t bouncy, large, or prone to escape might think this overkill, there is a growing trend for highly athletic dogs and as owners of these type of dogs ourselves, we can assure you that a 4ft stock fence possess no barrier to either of our dogs. In fact a 4ft obstacle is barely considered a basic agility challenge to them!
When you install a 6ft fence, you must make sure it stands 6ft from the ground all round – our inspections do not accredit a field with the ‘secure standard’ unless this height is maintained across the entire perimeter of the field – this is for the confidence of our readers who need this level of security from a field.
The cost of 6ft fencing as opposed to 4ft is considerable. Installation labour, posts, strainers and gates are all significantly more expensive however, committing to using 6ft fencing means that you are providing a facility that it suitable for the vast majority of dogs that use secure fields. If you opt for 4ft fencing you are substantially reducing your customer base. There are some instances when planning constraints will limit the height of your fence but these are very unusual as the industry standard is recognised as 6ft or more.
Gauge and Grid Aperture
Gauge is the thickness of the wire and this should be at least 2mm diameter but 2.5mm is considered better as you may have very heavy dogs using your field and this larger gauge is better for holding their weight if they lean up against the fence or run into it.
Grid aperture – we recommend 100mm x 50mm. There are some circumstances where this is not suitable. As part of your planning condisions, you may be required to have a fience that is less dominant, with a wider grid aperture so that the fencing does not create a dominating feature on the landscape. In this instance we suggest a deer fence that has a smaller grid aperture at the base and slowly increases towards the top, reducing the eyeline impact.
In some specific circumstances, solid panel fencing or prefabricated mesh fence panels can be used and as long as this is installed correctly, it is a suitable fencing solution for a dog field.
There are an increasing number of fence suppliers marketing their product as a dog field specific product. Some of these represent an excellent standard and supply quality products but others are jumping on a bandwagon and producing sub-standard products or in some cases entirely unsuitable products.
Unsuitable Dog Field Fencing:
- Heras fencing (common)
- Temporary event or contractor fencing panels
- Garden mesh fencing
- Electric fencing of any kind
- Barbed wire
- Fencing made up to 6ft using single strand wire
- Stone walls
- Hedges or vegetation
Most people setting up a dog field will need to employ a specialist fencing contractor as it is rare for a landowner to have the tools and manpower to properly install 6ft high tensile fencing themselves. Your appointed contractor may have a preferred supplier but make sure you inspect and approve the fencing wire before committing and do not be influenced by your contractor unless they have a lot of experience in installing fences for secure dog fields – not all fences are of a high enough standard.
Fencing contractors are in high demand so you may have a wait – you should book in as soon as your planning consent is approved.
There are some fields that have fencing dug a foot below ground level that still extend to 6ft above ground. These fields are often established by dog owners with experience of ‘diggers’. This is a huge additional expense regardless of the size of the facility and whilst there are very good reasons why this could be considered best practice, we rarely suggest this should be done as it can create more issues than it solves. However, there are certain circumstances where we wholeheartedly support this method which is site and clientele specific – please get in touch if you would like to discuss your personal circumstances.
As with digging in, this is not something we recommend to many field owners. If you are using an appropriate fencing and properly managing your field then it can present problems that are best avoided. It can however be a ‘problem solver’ solution is when wide grid fencing has been used to reduce the likelihood of small dogs escaping at ground level. There are a few other circumstances which we go into detail in our comprehensive guide to establishing a dog field – if you would like more information about the guide and how to set up a sucessful dog field, please join our mailing list at the bottom of the page..
Posts, Strainers and Gates for a Dog Field
The quality of these is as important as the fence itself, if not more so, and you can find out more about these in the guide.
Why 6ft Fencing for a Dog Field Is the Most Cost Effective and Safest Solution
As we’ve explained, installing 6ft fencing makes your facility open to all (almost). Whilst not everyone uses a dog field to ‘contain’ their fluffy escape artists, it is likely that those who do will be your most regular clients. People use dog fields for an increasing number of reasons and as the standards people expect from a dog field grow, the hight of fence is their first expectation.
One of the growing reasons for people telling us they use dog fields is to avoid out of control dogs on their regular walks and remember some dog fields are in the vicinity of public rights of way and footpaths … so your 6ft fence is as important for keeping anyone or thing ‘out’ and it is for keeping dogs ‘in’.